Virginia Wildlife Grant Program 2016

Connecting Youth to the Outdoors

turtle-guideThe Virginia Wildlife Grant Program, launched in 2014, provides a funding source to non-profits, schools, and government agencies with a focus to connect youth to the outdoors and is a partnership effort between the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia.  Support of the Grant Program is generated through the sale of gear and other merchandise from ShopDGIF. com.   This effort is an effective way to partner with organizations that are doing great things in their communities and have built successful relationships.  Our support provides just a bit more horsepower to make them greater. Read the rest of this article…

  • November 22nd, 2016

Virginia’s Locavore Deer Hunters

locavore-deerBy Matt Knox, Deer Project Leader, Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries

If you are a deer hunter in Virginia, there is a greater than 99% chance that you are a locavore deer hunter.  I am guessing at this point that many, maybe a majority, of Virginia deer hunters are asking themselves “What is a locavore deer hunter?” Read the rest of this article…

  • November 21st, 2016

Big Woods WMA, New Parker’s Branch Tract Open to the Public

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) announced today that it has purchased 1,965 acres in Sussex County, Virginia, adjoining the existing Big Woods Wildlife Management Area and Big Woods State Forest.  This acquisition, approved by the DGIF Board for the price of $3.8 million, supports the DGIF’s efforts to restore pine-savannah habitat and provide additional public land in an underserved area of Virginia. Read the rest of this article…

  • November 10th, 2016

2016 Acorn Production Varies By Region

shutterstock_510076396Over 200,000 hunters will take to the woods this fall in search of deer, turkey, and bear as well as a host of smaller game species.  One thing all of these hunters need to know is the importance of acorns in the diets of the game they hunt.  Acorns are a nutritious food providing protein, fat, and energy in the diets of 90 species of game and non-game animals in Virginia.  As such, they are a staple food for Virginia’s wildlife, providing important resources to meet the physical challenges of winter weather and reproduction in the following spring. Read the rest of this article…

  • November 8th, 2016

Record High Wild Turkey Population Likely to Remain Stable


While Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ biologists believe that Virginia’s wild turkey population is at record high levels, wild turkey populations can fluctuate considerably from year-to-year.  As such, every August, many Department of Game and Inland Fisheries employees record observations of wild turkeys during their routine work travels.  Known as the annual “Brood Survey”, Department employees record the number of turkeys they see, paying attention to accurately count the number of young birds within broods.  By August, young, recently hatched turkeys, called poults, are likely to survive until the fall and their presence or absence in the turkey population at this time of year provides biologists with important insight into future population trends.

Overall, the 2016 wild turkey brood survey revealed wild turkey numbers slightly below the long-term average on a statewide basis.  However, production of young turkeys varied across the Commonwealth.  In the Northwest Mountain Region, observers reported very high numbers of broods and very high numbers of young birds within broods,  the best of any in the state.  This is encouraging news for the region because turkey densities are very low in many counties in Northwest Mountain Region.  Brood numbers were also high in the Tidewater region but the number of poults seen in broods was very low.  In the balance of the state (North Piedmont, South Piedmont, and South Mountain), the numbers of broods seen was below average, furthermore, the number of young birds within broods was down.

Poor weather conditions involving extended periods of cooler, wet weather were observed throughout much of the brood season in 2016.  The negative impacts of these conditions on poult survival appeared throughout most of the state this year.  The turkey population influences from reproduction seemed almost appropriate this year as the Region with the lowest turkey population experienced the greatest recruitment, while the Region with the highest turkey population (Tidewater) experienced the lowest recruitment.  Regardless, turkey enthusiasts will continue to enjoy turkey populations that are still at or near record levels for modern times in the Commonwealth.


Figure 1. Turkey recruitment indices for Virginia, 2007-16.

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  • November 7th, 2016

DGIF’s New Vision, Mission and Goal Statements

Agency Director Bob Duncan announced the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) has updated its Agency Vision, Mission and Goal Statements.

The new Vision, Mission and Goal statements were developed by an internal Strategic Thinking Team through a comprehensive process that included input from DGIF staff, external partners, focus groups, and stakeholders.  The final review included public comment opportunities and approval by the DGIF Executive Board and Senior Leadership Team.

“Conserve, Connect, Protect—these are not simply words to us.  We are proud of the work we have accomplished over the last 100 years but we also realize the challenges ahead are significant, and even more daunting.  The new vision, mission and goal statements are the distillation of what our employees work for everyday at the Department,” said Bob Duncan, Executive Director, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Vision Statement 

  • Leading wildlife conservation and inspiring people to value the outdoors and their role in nature.

Mission Statement

  • Conserve and manage wildlife populations and habitat for the benefit of present and future generations.
  • Connect people to Virginia’s outdoors through boating, education, fishing, hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing, and other wildlife-related activities.
  • Protect people and property by promoting safe outdoor experiences and managing human-wildlife conflicts.

Goal Statements


  • Conserve sustainable and diverse native wildlife populations and ecosystems.
  • Manage wildlife populations and habitats to meet the balanced needs among diverse human communities.


  • Recruit, retain, and re-engage people who enjoy wildlife and boating activities.
  • Promote people’s awareness and appreciation of their role in wildlife conservation.


  • Minimize wildlife-related conflicts while balancing conservation goals and human benefits.
  • Promote public safety for all people enjoying Virginia’s wildlife and waterways.


  • Cultivate an effective and efficient organization that supports the agency vision and mission
  • Create an inclusive culture that fosters collaboration, diversity, innovation and transparency.

Learn more about DGIF»

  • November 7th, 2016

Drivers: Stay Alert, Deer are on the Move

Autumn is here, and along with colorful leaves, crisp air, and shorter days, it means Virginia’s white-tailed deer will be on the move.  With daylight savings time just around the corner, many motorists will be commuting in the dark, increasing the likelihood of their vehicle colliding with a deer.

Fall is the breeding season for deer, and consequently, deer are more active now than at any other time of the year. One-half to two-thirds of all deer/vehicle collisions occur in the months of October, November and December. While less than 2 percent of vehicle fatalities and injuries involve deer collisions in Virginia, hitting a deer can cause considerable damage to both people and property.

Wildlife biologists with DGIF estimate the population of white-tailed deer in the Commonwealth at this time of year to be approximately one million animals. DGIF sets seasons and bag limits and other hunting regulations to manage the deer population. Each year, hunters in Virginia harvest approximately 220,000 deer. Without hunting, white-tailed deer could double their population within five years, due to their rate of reproduction.

As part of its outreach mission, DGIF has worked with the Virginia Department of Education to incorporate advice on avoiding collisions into the driver’s education manual used by thousands of new drivers every year. If you have questions about white-tailed deer or deer behavior, please visit the Department’s website.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recommend the following tips to drivers to avoid hitting a deer:

  1. When driving, particularly at night (from dusk to dawn) slow down and be attentive. If you see one deer, likely there will be others. If one deer crosses the road as you approach, others may follow.
  2. Deer habitually travel the same areas; therefore deer crossing signs have been installed by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Use caution when you see these signs.
  3. Drivers should apply brakes, even stop if necessary, to avoid hitting a deer, but should never swerve out of the lane to miss a deer. A collision with another vehicle, tree or other object is likely to be more serious than hitting a deer.
  4. Rely on your caution and your own senses, not deer whistles you can buy for your car. These devices have not been shown to be effective.
  5. Any person involved in a collision with a deer or bear while driving a motor vehicle, thereby killing the animal, should immediately report the accident to a Conservation Police Officer or other law enforcement officer in the county or city where the accident occurred.
  6. Drivers who collide with a deer or bear, thereby killing the animal, may keep it for their own use provided that they report the accident to a law enforcement officer where the accident occurred and the officer views the animal and gives the person a possession certificate.
  • November 2nd, 2016